well, i do believe this is the first in-character bit of Yu-Gi-Oh fiction I've managed to churn out. It's not yaoi, by the way. Surprised meself with that. No romance whatsoever.

Ryou's side of a conversation.

Slightly inspired by a song from the musical RENT.

Take Me For Who I Am

I'm not just weak. I'm your personal weakness, the one you thought you got rid of centuries ago. That's why you hate me, isn't it? I'm what you lost.

That's why you can't stand me. I'm right, aren't I? If you can't have untainted happiness, if you've lost your innocence, why should I have mine? I'm you, after all.

And all this time I've been thinking you were a sadist.

Masochist! It hurts you just as much, if not more, each time you hit me. Doesn't it?

Doesn't it!?

Can't you just accept me for what I am?

I'm your second chance. I'm your hope, your light, your other half.

Hell, we might even cease to be separate if you accepted it. We're like different facets of the same diamond. Pieces of the same soul. I'm not talking in a romantic sense here, but we complete each other.

Maybe we could exist together. Maybe we'd merge, maybe we'd stay like this.

Do you think there was a time when we weren't separate? Maybe when we lived in Egypt, when we were young, very young, we were balanced.

So can't you be my balance? My dark, the opposite of my gullibility, the realist against my optimism.

Or am I just a reminder of your failure? Can't have that, can we? Gotta make me fail too. That's awfully goddamned selfish of you, but you know. Hate yourself for it, too, and then you just hate me more, because I'm you. Nasty cycle, that.

You want the Millennium Items, and part of you wants to just leave me out of it, but part of you recognizes my value as a hostage. You know, you've been giving into both parts.

You didn't know? You've been protecting me.

How about that first time you took us all to the shadow realm, and put all our souls into the cards, when I took control of your card and told Yugi to kill me? Pissed you off big time. You still would have won without me, and then you could have possessed one of their bodies, and not had to compete with their souls for it. But you didn't want to see me dead, practically at your hands.

And why do you keep blocking me out when you take control? Don't want to corrupt me. Don't want me to see what you were doing to Pegasus, but I know anyway. You can't block out screams that loud. It's my body, after all. My ears were the ones that were ringing afterward.

I know you're not going to change. I'm not asking you to.

So quit trying to change me. Quit trying to make me snap, quit trying to make me into a fiend like you. You've already been influencing me a bit, otherwise I wouldn't have risked this conversation.

Take me for what I am. For who I was meant to be.

If you give a damn.

Take me, or leave me.